The Blind Cub Scout

English_braille_sample from WikipediaEnglish_braille_sample from Wikipedia

Sample of English Braille from Wikipedia

How do you teach Cubs about how lucky they are to be an able bodied person? Why, over two meetings to expose them to different forms of communication and have them go blind for the night. For the month of January, the Concrete Jungle Pack explored the world of the disabled.

american sign language from wikipedia

American Sign Language from Wikipedia

The first night back from the holidays was all about sending messages. From Morse Code, Braille and American Sign Language the Cubs had fun learning the basics of the communication options and about how disabled persons communicate. Out of all three forms of code, the Cubs enjoyed doing braille the most. There’s something oddly satisfying about taking a thumb tack and punching holes into paper to send a secret message to someone.

The second week, following the cues from the braille, we went deeper into vision impairment. With neckers, ties and scarfs, we paired up the Cubs and had them run an obstacle course. Rules were simple. The “blind” Cub could only listen to their partners directions while stepping up and walking along a bench, hopping down, navigating around a pylon, sitting onto another bench and aimlessly walking around another pylon before returning to the end. Between the challenge of balance, listening and communication in general, the Cubs experienced trust, team building and how to articulate direction better. After completing one run, the Cubs would then switch roles. The Cub that was doing the direction last time had more confidence till they took 3 steps and it hit them that it’s not easy being visually impaired.

Special Needs Symbols

Special Needs Symbols

Coupled this with a round robin of what the disability awareness symbol is and where to find it as well as scavenger hunt for braille around the school made for an interesting night.

With a few extra moments, we finished the night with more blind fun. Line tag with blind folds.

Badges earned: Disability Awareness. See the bold text for topics covered for this program night. It’s important to note that while yes we met the badge requirements one night, we’ve actually done all but requirement six for this badge. This enables more youth to achieve the badge while diversifying program. Read about how we did the other requirements in Going around in Circles

Scouts Canada Wiki: Disability Awareness Badge Requirements

Do any four (4) of the following:

  1. Recognize the International Symbol of Accessibility and point out places where this sign is found.
  2. Discuss with your leader how building entrances, water fountains, elevators, public telephones and washrooms, and sidewalk corner curbs can be made more accessible to persons in wheelchairs.
  3. Visit your library and find out how books are made available for visually impaired people.
  4. Meet with a social worker, agency representative or knowledgeable adult as to what services are available in your community to people with various disabilities.
  5. Talk to your gym teacher, Parks and Recreation department or leader about how disabled persons participate and compete in various sports.
  6. Talk to a representative from the phone company; TV station or other knowledgeable adult about what services are available for the hearing impaired.
  7. Find out what American Sign Language (ASL) is. Learn some sign language and how to sign your name.
  8. Where possible, meet with a disabled person and talk about that person’s personal interests and activities.

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